Decision - Response to a Report Request on Badger Management
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Response to a Report Request on Badger Management
Decision Maker: Central Services Cabinet Member Meeting
Decision status: Recommendations Approved
Is Key decision?: No
Is subject to call in?: Yes
1. That a ban on badger culling be resisted, and that the authority relies on the existing statutory controls in place.
2. That it be agreed that, should national legislation be revised, or the Government issue further guidance in relation to disease control to reduce the spread of TB, the authority should review its policy in light of any further advice or guidance.
Reasons for the decision:
1. Clearly there are competing interests between farming and animal welfare for badgers and cattle, public safety, maintenance of engineering structures and conservation grazing. The council has a responsibility as landlord and local authority across all of these issues. As a result it would be unwise to restrict the current flexibility available to the council to address problems associated with badgers on a case by case basis.
2. A licensed cull is an option of last resort and is only carried out in extreme and limited circumstances in accordance with the existing statutory controls, rigidly enforced by Natural England who are recognised as experts on such matters.
Alternative options considered:
1. Consideration has been given to the introduction of a blanket ban. It has not been recommended for the reasons discussed in the body of the report.
2. If the council were to introduce a ban on licensed culls the council may expose themselves to compensation claims from tenants (in addition to a reduction in rental income) and third parties arising from damage to property and livestock, loss of earnings and increased costs associated with disease control measures. This would be in addition to the council’s own costs associated with maintaining roads, engineering structures etc.
3. If there is a ban there is some risk, however small, that action may be taken without obtaining a licence from Natural England. This would be an unlawful activity and one that the council would have to rely on the police to enforce.
4. Finally a blanket ban would be difficult and potentially costly to introduce within the structure of the existing leases and could only be carried out by negotiation and agreement with the individual farm tenants.
Report author: Jessica Hamilton
Publication date: 23/07/2008
Date of decision: 21/07/2008
Decided at meeting: 21/07/2008 - Central Services Cabinet Member Meeting
Effective from: 29/07/2008